Biden hosts King of Jordan, Israel-Hamas conflict hostage deal top of mind

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – President Joe Biden hosted Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Washington Monday and the two leaders discussed the ongoing effort to free hostages held in Gaza, and growing concern over a possible Israeli military operation in the border city of Rafah.

It is the first meeting between the allies since three American troops were killed last month in a drone strike against a U.S. base in Jordan. Biden blamed Iran-backed militias for the fatalities, the first for the U.S. after months of strikes by such groups against American forces across the Middle East since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

The meeting with King Abdullah II comes as Biden and his aides are working to broker another pause in Israel’s war against Hamas in order to send humanitarian aid and supplies into the region and get hostages out. The White House faces growing criticism from Arab-Americans over the administration’s continued support for Israel in the face of growing casualties in Gaza.

“As discussed with the king today, the Palestinian Authority must urgently reform so it can effectively deliver it to the Palestinian people in both the West Bank and Gaza,” Biden said. “Once Hamas’ control of Gaza is over, they must prepare to build a state that accepts peace, does not harbor terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with President Biden on a call Sunday to discuss the situation. Biden, who last week called Israel’s military response in Gaza “over the top,” sought “urgent and specific” steps to strengthen humanitarian aid.

Jordan and other Arab states have been highly critical of Israel’s actions and have eschewed public support for long-term planning over what happens next, arguing that the fighting must end before such discussions can begin. They have been demanding a cease-fire since mid-October as civilian casualties began to skyrocket.

“Your leadership, my dear friend, Mr. President, is key to addressing this conflict,” King Abdullah II said. “And Jordan is ready to work, as always with you towards peace.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Source: Rocky Mountain News

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